In 1928, a local physician, Dr. Richard B. Wetherill acquired the land around what was believed to be the site of an early French trading post known as the Fort Ouiatenon (1717-1791). In 1930, he built a 452 sq. ft. replica of a fort on this land. These grounds, now Historic Fort Ouiatenon Park, are located approximately 3 miles southwest of West Lafayette on South River Road.
In 1968 archaeological excavations and document research began under the auspices of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association to recapture and preserve the almost-forgotten French Heritage of Ouiatenon. The archaeological excavation uncovered the actual site of the original stockade approximately one mile downriver from the blockhouse. Excavations, under the supervision of archaeologists from Michigan State University, ended in 1979. The actual site of Fort Ouiatenon was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1970.
Both the document research, which has extended as far as Canada and France, and the archaeological research are adding to our knowledge of the Ouiatenon of more than two centuries past.
The Fort Ouiatenon blockhouse is open weekends from 1-5 p.m. May through September. School programs at the park are also available. Contact the Tippecanoe County Historical Association at (765) 476-8411 for more information.